A Real Life Accounts of Accessing Clinical Trials

Clinical trials

In 2018 I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in my liver, I was 44.

I knew the survival statistics were grim, so decided from the outset, in order to outlive the 2 to 3-year median I’d have to embrace experimental drugs and treatments.

I made this clear during my first oncology appointment, telling my doctor I was keen to sign up for clinical trials right from the start.

The Cancer Postcode Lottery

The cancer postcode lottery

I have been living with secondary breast cancer for 7 years, and am very aware that I’m one of the very lucky ones as the median life expectancy is 2-3 years.  The general public perception of breast cancer is that it’s ‘sorted’ – eg if you get it you will be fine.  But few people realise that when it metastases (spreads) to the organs as mine has, it cannot be cured. It is the biggest killer of women under 50 with over 11,000 women dying of it every year in the UK.  

Aren’t you a bit young to have a pacemaker

Aren’t you a bit young to have a pacemaker

Stage 4 breast cancer with a pacemaker

Most people know someone with a pacemaker, and chances are that person will be elderly. The average age of a first pacemaker implantation in the UK is 72, but pacemakers are actually fitted in people of all ages from newborn babies to the very elderly. I was 39 when I had mine, which was needed as a complication after heart surgery to replace my aortic valve and root.

The reality of saying goodbye to friends. Regularly.

The reality of living with death

There is a natural instinct when you are diagnosed with something like cancer to seek out like-minded folk. I assume it probably applies to a lot of situations. But the people you seek out when you have metastatic cancer are different from those you seek out when you’ve bought a classic car. Because whilst you’re all going to be very different in many ways, here’s the one thing you all have in common – You are all dying.